At Aunt Flow, we believe it’s always a good idea to think about the best way to manage your period. This is especially true today, as concerns around sustainability are increasing, and the different types of period products can seem overwhelming.
Whichever one you decide to use is entirely up to you and what works best for your flow! To help, we’ve included a bunch of different options menstruators can choose when managing their period.
As one of the most popular period products, tampons are typically made from an absorbent material, usually cotton or rayon. Tampons come in a variety of shapes, sizes and absorbency levels. Plus, they are easily portable and last between four to eight hours.
While the modern-day tampon maintains the same cylindrical shape across most brands, not all tampons are created equal. Most tampons are NOT made with organic cotton and contain synthetics, dyes, fibers and other harsh chemicals.
Cardboard applicator tampons tend to have a fairly similar design to those with a plastic applicator. Still, they can be considered more environmentally friendly due to their biodegradable nature.
If tampons aren’t your thing, plenty of different types of pads are out there.
In addition to tampons, there are many different types of pads. You can choose liners, day pads, night pads, pads with wings, pads without wings, etc. The list goes on!
Menstruators can attach the pad to their underwear to absorb their flow for six to eight hours.
A variation of the more commonly used disposable pads, reusable pads snap around the underwear of the menstruator and are available in a few different shapes and sizes. Reusable pads are thought to provide a greater absorption level than disposable pads and can last up to five years.
You may be wondering, “How do reusable pads work?” Well, it’s pretty simple! Cleaning includes a quick rinse and wash before throwing them into the laundry with the rest of your clothes. If you tend to have a heavy flow for most of your cycle, reusable pads are likely the most sustainable option.
Pads and tampons are the most common devices menstruators use to manage their periods, but there are some other alternatives you can try.
A menstrual cup is a reusable period product made of rubber or silicone. You can insert a funnel-shaped cup to catch and collect period blood.
Menstruators can wear a cup for up to twelve hours, depending on your flow. Menstrual cups should be emptied at least twice a day. After each use, the cups are to be washed and wiped clean before reinsertion. This durable alternative can last for six months to ten years with the proper care.
Like menstrual cups, discs are disposable, insertable round devices that provide menstruators eight to twelve hours of protection. The main difference: Discs are to be inserted deeper than the cup.
Each disc is said to hold the equivalent of five regular tampons. However, menstrual discs are often made from plastics that are not meant to be reused per se, making them less sustainable.
Yep, it’s exactly what it sounds like. Absorbency levels vary across different brands, but it’s just underwear that absorbs your flow. Lasting anywhere from two to five years, period underwear can act as a replacement for period products or as a supplement during your period. Period underwear can easily be tossed into the washing machine and then hung up to dry, just like reusable pads.
Sources: Self and Daily Princetonian